|Publication number||US7834847 B2|
|Application number||US 11/566,156|
|Publication date||Nov 16, 2010|
|Filing date||Dec 1, 2006|
|Priority date||Dec 1, 2005|
|Also published as||US20070125633|
|Publication number||11566156, 566156, US 7834847 B2, US 7834847B2, US-B2-7834847, US7834847 B2, US7834847B2|
|Inventors||Marc Boillot, Jason McIntosh|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Referenced by (37), Classifications (8), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the priority benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/741,359 entitled “Method and System for Activating a Control” filed Dec. 1, 2005, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference. This application also incorporates by reference the following Utility Applications: U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11,559,295, entitled “Method and System for “Directing a Control Action”, filed on Nov. 13, 2006, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11,562,404, entitled “Method and System for Object Control”, filed on Nov. 21, 2006, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11,562,410, entitled “Method and System for Range Measurement”, filed on Nov. 21, 2006, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11,562,413, entitled “Method and System for Providing Sensory Feedback for Touchless Control”, filed on Nov. 21, 2006. This application also incorporates by reference the following Utility Applications filed on the same day: Ser. No. 11/566,137 entitled “Method and System for Touchless User Interface Signing” filed on Dec. 1, 2006, and Ser. No. 11/556,148 entitled “Method and System for Mapping Virtual Coordinates” filed on Dec. 1, 2006.
The present embodiments of the invention generally relates to the field of user interfaces, more particularly to touchless user interface devices.
2. Background of the Invention
Motion detectors can detect movement. Motion detection systems can include radar systems, video camera monitoring systems, outdoor lighting systems, and medical diagnostic systems. Motion detection systems generally include a sensor which converts a physical signal into an electronic signal. The sensor performs the task of capturing the signal and converting it to a suitable format for processing. A motion detection system can include a processor for interpreting the sensory information and identifying whether an object has moved.
A motion detection system can be used as a security feature in a home or building. The motion detection system can include, or connect to, a source of lighting that is activated when an object is detected. Generally, when a movement is detected, lights are turned on, and when the movement ceases the lights are turned off. A motion detection system can include a timer for establishing a time interval when the lights are turned back off.
A computer system generally includes a mouse to navigate and control a cursor on a computer display. A cursor on the screen moves in accordance with the motion of the mouse. A touchpad or stick can also be used to control the cursor on the display. The mouse, touchpad, and stick generally require physical movement to assume control of the cursor. In one example, a motion detection system can be used in place of the mouse to navigate a cursor object. However, the motion detection system detects interference motion. A need therefore exists for providing a mechanism to control motion detection sensing.
One embodiments of the invention is directed to a system for touchless control. The system can include a touchless sensing unit that detects at least one activation cue from a finger in a touchless sensing field, and a controller communicatively coupled to said sensing unit, that activates a touchless control in response to said activation cue. The touchless sensing unit can further include a detector that identifies a location and movement of the finger producing the activation cue, a timer cooperatively connected to said detector, that establishes a time window of receiving said activation cue, and a processor cooperatively connected to said detector, that acquires or releases the touchless control in view of the activation cue. The system can include a display cooperatively connected to the controller, that visually presents a handle to an object under touchless control, and an indication element communicatively coupled to the detector, that informs a user that an activation cue has been identified. In one arrangement, the object can be a cursor and the handle can be a navigation and selection control of the cursor.
The touchless sensing unit can be an array of ultrasonic sensors, imaging elements, charge coupled devices (CCD), camera elements, or laser elements. In one configuration, the processor focuses the touchless sensing field to produce a touchless projection space that includes at least one boundary for activating the activation cue. The sensing unit can projects the touchless projection space away from a surface of a display, such that a center of the touchless projection space does not coincide with a center of the display.
One embodiment is a method for activating a touchless control. The method can include detecting at least one movement of a finger in a touchless sensing field, identifying an activation cue in response to the at least one finger movement, and granting touchless control of an object in response the activation cue. The method can include focusing the touchless sensing field to produce a touchless projection space, wherein the activation cue is a positioning of the finger within a bounded region of the touchless projection space. The method can further include enabling a touchless control upon identifying an activation cue within a first bounded region of a touchless projection space, and disabling the touchless control upon identifying an activation cue outside a second bounded region of the touchless projection space. The method can include detecting a length of time the finger is at a location within a bounded region, and presenting an indication when a touchless control is enabled or disabled in response to an activation cue. In one configuration, a sensitivity of the touchless projection space can be adjusted based on a position of the finger and a time length of the finger at the position. Adjusting the sensitivity can change an intensity of the touchless projection space. The step of granting touchless control can further comprise associating relative finger movements with activation cues for acquiring and releasing the touchless control.
Another embodiment is directed to a machine readable storage, having stored thereon a computer program having a plurality of code sections executable by a portable computing device. The code sections can cause the portable computing device to perform the steps of enabling a navigation control when a finger is within a first boundary region of a touchless projection space, controlling an object in accordance with a movement of at least one finger, when said finger is within said touchless projection space, disabling said navigation control when said finger is outside a second boundary region of said touchless projection space, and re-enabling said navigation control when said finger returns to a region within said first boundary, for controlling said object in accordance with said movement when said finger is within said touchless projection space. The object can remain at a position where navigation control is disabled and resume movement when the finger returns to the first boundary region. The computer program can be stored in a machine readable storage such as a hard disk, a computer memory, a flash drive, a chip, an EPROM, or the like.
The machine readable storage can further perform the steps of identifying a forward accelerated finger movement as an activation cue to enable touchless control of the object, and identifying a backward accelerated finger movement as an activation cue to disable touchless control of the object. The machine readable storage can further perform the steps of identifying a downward accelerated finger movement as an activation cue to enable touchless control of the object, and identifying an upward accelerated finger movement as an activation cue to disable touchless control of the object. The machine readable storage can further perform the steps of increasing an intensity of the touchless projection space in response to detecting a finger within the first boundary region.
The features of the present invention, which are believed to be novel, are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in the several figures of which like reference numerals identify like elements, and in which:
While the specification concludes with claims defining the features of the invention that are regarded as novel, it is believed that the invention will be better understood from a consideration of the following description in conjunction with the drawing figures, in which like reference numerals are carried forward.
As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which can be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure. Further, the terms and phrases used herein are not intended to be limiting but rather to provide an understandable description of the invention.
The terms a or an, as used herein, are defined as one or more than one. The term plurality, as used herein, is defined as two or more than two. The term another, as used herein, is defined as at least a second or more. The terms including and/or having, as used herein, are defined as comprising (i.e., open language). The term coupled, as used herein, is defined as connected, although not necessarily directly, and not necessarily mechanically. The terms program, software application, and the like as used herein, are defined as a sequence of instructions designed for execution on a computer system. A program, computer program, or software application may include a subroutine, a function, a procedure, an object method, an object implementation, an executable application, an applet, a servlet, a midlet, a source code, an object code, a shared library/dynamic load library and/or other sequence of instructions designed for execution on a computer system.
The term “touchless sensing” can be defined as sensing movement without physically touching the object causing the movement. The term “touchless sensing field” can be defined as a broad region for sensing. The term “touchless projection space” can be defined as a focus, or narrowed region, of a touchless sensing field. The term “mounted” can be defined as a being attached to, connected to, part of, integrated within, associated with, coupled to, adjacent to, or near. The term “cursor” can be defined as a cursor on a display providing control to an underlying object. The cursor can be a handle to an object in the display, or a physical object remote from the display controlled using the cursor on the display. The cursor may or may not be visible. The cursor can be a handle to an object, wherein the object can be controlled via the cursor. The term “cursor object” can be defined as an object that can receive coordinate information for positioning. In one example, a cursor object can be the target of a game control for handling an object in the game. The term “activating” or “activation” can be defined as enabling, disabling, or adjusting a control. The term “activation cue” can be defined as a finger movement that imparts an operation on a control. The operation can be the initiating of the control, the termination of the control, the pausing of the control, or the adjusting of the control though is not limited to these. The activation cue can be a physical motion such as a finger movement, hand gesture, or a vocal motion such as a spoken utterance though is not limited to these. The term “cue” can be defined as an act or behavior; the act may be rehearsed or intentional. The term “bounded region” can be defined as an enclosed region.
Briefly, embodiments of the invention are directed to a system and method for activating a touchless control. The method can include detecting at least one activation cue in a touchless projection space, and activating a touchless control upon recognizing the activation cue. For example, a user can position a finger at a particular location in the touchless projection space for a predetermined length of time to activate a touchless control. In one aspect, the activation cue can enable control of a cursor or disable control of the cursor. The method can adjust a sensitivity of a touchless sensing unit for adjusting an intensity of the touchless projection space. A user can move a finger in the touchless projection space for controlling an object in accordance with the finger movement. The sensing unit can create boundaries in the touchless projection space for demarcating activation cues. Navigation and control of a cursor object can cease or resume when the finger leaves or enters the boundaries. Activating a touchless control can include disabling object control, enabling object control, or adjusting the touchless projection space.
The sensing unit 110 can include the in-line sensor element 113 for creating the touchless sensing field, a detector 112 for identifying a finger location and finger movement in the touchless sensing field, and a timer 114 for determining a time the finger is at a location or in movement. The sensing unit 110 can also include a processor 116 for creating a touchless projection space and recognizing one or more activation cues from the finger location and movement in the touchless projection space. In one configuration, the processor 116 focuses the touchless sensing field to produce the touchless projection space. The touchless projection space includes at least one boundary for activating the activation cue. Briefly, the touchless projection space can include regions 176 and 177 within which a finger can be detected. The touchless projection space is a bounded region in the touchless sensing field. Only movement within the touchless projection space is detected. The touchless sensing field can radiate in all directions from the touchless sensing unit 110. The touchless projection space is a localized region in the touchless sensing field.
Briefly, touchless control of an object is granted when a finger is within the touchless projection space. The object can be local to the program application or can be an object outside of the program application. For example, the user can control an object such as a cursor 124, a menu item, or user interface control in a program. The user interface control may be coupled to another device capable of receiving coordinate information for controlling the object. The sensing unit 110 can be used to control objects in gaming, mobile device systems, multimedia rendering engines, visual rotation systems, painting applications, simulation, media control, automotive applications, adjusting audio controls, adjusting multimedia controls, and the like.
Returning back to
In one arrangement, the sensing unit 110 can track finger movement using ultrasonic pulse-echo detection. During normal typing movement, when multiple fingers are moving, the sensing unit 110 identifies incoherent movement. When the user is typing, signals are reflected off the moving fingers causing interference patterns within the sensing unit 110. The detector 112 can determine which movements are coherent and which movements are non-coherent. For example, when the user signals an activation cue to the computer, the user ceases typing and raises a single finger. The movement of the single finger may be smooth and continuous in comparison to normal typing motion where all fingers are moving. The detector 112 can identify coherent motion as an indication by the user that the user is signaling an activation cue. The detector also determines a completion of a finger motion when movement has ceased or when non-coherent motion resumes. The timer 114 can set a time window for capturing the activation cue. The processor 116 can create boundaries within the sensing field for identifying when a user is attempting to acquire control of an object and when a user is attempting to relinquish control of the object.
Returning back to
In one aspect, projecting the sensing space away from the keypad 111 allows users to type without unintentionally acquiring control of an object, such as the cursor 124. If the processor 220 did not focus the sensing space 210 to a touchless projection space 220, finger movements in the sensing space, such as typing motion, could cause the cursor 124 to move. The processor 116 provides control for mitigating unintentional touchless finger actions. In another aspect, projecting the sensing space away from the display 122 provides users an unobstructed view of the display. That is, the fingers will not be in front of the display blocking view of the graphics or images in the display. For example, in a touchscreen application, users are required to touch the objects on the screen; an action which can obstruct the view of the screen. That is, objects in the display can be covered by the finger when the finger is placed over the display. Similarly, in a surface display sensing application wherein a capacitance of the field changes in accordance with an approaching finger, the finger is above the screen; an action which partially or wholly obstructs the view of the screen. In contrast, processor 116 projects the touchless projection space 220 away from the display 122 and the keypad 111 such that finger movement does not obstruct the view of the display 122.
The touchless projection space 300 can originate at the sensing unit 110 and project outward from the sensing unit 110 to a full extent of finger range motion. A finger motion range may be between 3 to 6 inches. For example, referring to
At step 252, the processor 116 can identify if the finger is within a first boundary. For example, referring back to
In the foregoing, a brief description of the operation of the sensing unit 110 is provided. Briefly, the touchless projection space 220 discussed in
As shown in
In another arrangement (not shown), a single transmit and receive pair in the in-line sensing element 113 calculates a first range (e.g. distance) of an object in the touchless projection space. A first transmit and receive pair on an x-axis estimates a longitudinal range of the object (e.g. finger). A second pair, arranged separately from the first pair, estimate a second range. The second pair estimates a latitudinal range of the object (e.g. finger). Accordingly, the two range measurements establish a position (e.g. location) of the object causing the signal reflection by mathematically combining the geometrically related range measurements. For example, the first range measurement establishes a x-coordinate and the second range measurement establishes a y-coordinate. The location of the object is then determined to correspond to the point (x,y) in a single plane. For example, the plane will be oriented in the direction of the first and second paired ultrasonic elements. Accordingly, a third pair can produce a range measurement in a third direction thereby establishing a three-dimensional coordinate system (x,y,z) if the first, second, and third range measurement projections are orthogonal to one another. Notably, the sensing unit 110 can contain multiple sensing elements positioned and arranged in various configurations for receiving range measurements in varying directions for calculating the location of the object. The paired transmit and receive elements can be on a same principal axis or a different principal axis. The sensing unit can also employ beam forming techniques for estimating the objects location.
As discussed in
In practice, an activation cue can be invoked when the cursor is overlaid on the object, such as a user interface component. The activation cue can be one of a single click, a double click, a scroll, a hold, or a button press. Accordingly, the detector 112 keeps track of such information for identifying whether the user has performed an activation cue can within the touchless projection space. The processor 116 can extend the touchless projection space to a greater radius when the detector 112 determines prolonged active movement within the touchless projection space. The processor 116 can adjust a sensitivity based on a position of the finger and a time length of the finger at a position. Adjusting the sensitivity changes a touchless projection space. In one example, the processor 116 increases the transmit pulse intensity to broaden the touchless projection space. Accordingly, the processor 116 decreases the transmit pulse intensity to lessen the touchless projection space. The processor 116 can also change the sensitivity in software to expand or shrinking the touchless projection space. For example, the detector 112 adjusts a sensitivity by linearly increasing the time of flight value corresponding to the locus of points along the boundary for extending the boundaries. Notably, the detector 112 decreases the boundaries by decreasing the time of flight values associated with the boundary.
At step 401, the method 400 can begin. At step 402, a movement can be detected. For example, referring to
At step 406, a control can be enabled if an activation cue is identified. For example, referring to
In one arrangement the sensing unit 110 can include an indication element 166 which informs a user of the status of the activation cue. For example, the indication element can be a light emitting diode (LED), light contrast display (LCD), a color stick, a software graphics display, or a voice responder for providing a visual or auditory cue back to the user, respectively. In the particular example of a LED, the LED lights up when the activation cue is detected. In another aspect, the intensity of the LED slowly increases as the time length approaches the predetermined time length and begins to blink when an activation cue is detected. In another configuration the indication element 166 changes color as a function of an object's position. The indication element informs the user that the user can commence control of the cursor 122 thereby removing uncertainty as to when control is granted.
Returning back to step 408, a location and a time length can be identified. For example, referring back to
At step 410, a sensitivity of the sensing unit 110 can be adjusted based on the measured time and location. For example, the user can leave the finger within the first boundary region for a time period greater than the time length required in order to satisfy the activation cue for assuming control of the cursor. Notably, the detector 112 begins to expand the region the longer in time the user leaves the finger in the same position when at the location of the activation cue. The detector 112 can be manually configured to not adjust the sensitivity or extent of the boundary regions. The step of adjusting the sensitivity is optional. The detector 112 expands the touchless projection space by increasing the intensity of the transmitting pulse energy in the sensing unit 110. The higher the pulse energy, the greater the touchless projection space. Notably, the sensing unit, when activated, produces a transmit pulse with an energy level sufficient to cover the touchless projection space (i.e. 176 or 177). Accordingly, the sensing unit, when not-activated, reduces the transmit pulse energy such that movement within the touchless projection space does not produce a reflection of sufficient strength to be detected by the detector 112.
In another arrangement, the processor 116 keeps the detector 112 disabled unless an activation cue is received. The processor 116 enables the detector 112 when an activation cue is detected and turns the detector 112 off when the finger leaves the touchless projection space. The indication element 166 indicates to the user that the touchless projection space is expanding (e.g. strength of transmitted pulse) either by increasing the blinking rate or changing the blinking style. When the user moves the finger away from the location of the activation cue (e.g. within the first boundary 304) the touchless projection space no longer changes. Accordingly, the user expands the touchless projection space by leaving the finger at the activation cue position longer.
At step 412, an activation outside a second boundary can be evaluated. For example, referring to
At step 414, control can be disabled. Referring back to
At step 505, the flowchart 500 can begin. At step 510, finger movement cursory control is initially disabled. At step 520, the processor 116 can determine if a first finger movement is detected. If a finger movement is detected, the flowchart 500 can proceed to step 530, If not, the flowchart returns to 510, and the processor 116 awaits detection of a first movement. At step 530, finger movement cursory control is enabled. For example, referring back to
Where applicable, the present embodiments of the invention can be realized in hardware, software or a combination of hardware and software. Any kind of computer system or other apparatus adapted for carrying out the methods described herein are suitable. A typical combination of hardware and software can be a mobile communications device with a computer program that, when being loaded and executed, can control the mobile communications device such that it carries out the methods described herein. Portions of the present method and system may also be embedded in a computer program product, which comprises all the features enabling the implementation of the methods described herein and which when loaded in a computer system, is able to carry out these methods.
While the preferred embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will be clear that the embodiments of the invention is not so limited. Numerous modifications, changes, variations, substitutions and equivalents will occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the present embodiments of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||345/156, 345/173|
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|Mar 7, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: NAVISENSE, LLC,FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BOILLOT, MARC;REEL/FRAME:018977/0676
Effective date: 20070307
|Jun 18, 2012||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: NAVISENSE, LLC, FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MCINTOSH, JASON;BOILLOT, MARC;REEL/FRAME:028390/0465
Effective date: 20120617
|Jun 2, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jun 2, 2014||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|